Ch 3 & 4: What’s Making Me Angry?

She's Gonna Blow Read Along

Today I’ll pick out a key point from each chapter since Ch. 4 especially was very detailed and I wouldn’t want to try to summarize it.  (side note:  The posts in this series are turning out a lot longer than my usual posts, but I think it’s important to adequately cover the subject of anger – other posts are not this long!)

To see other posts in this series please go to the She’s Gonna Blow page.

Ch 3: Warning Signs

Julie Ann uses so many personal examples in this book that I really know she understands what mothering is like!

She uses this chapter to go through the warning signs of an eruption so we can begin to recognize what triggers us.  I’ll be honest, I’ve done the work in this respect and recognizing warning signs is easy, it’s respecting the warning signs that is hard.

A few of my lower-key “triggers” (Julie Ann calls these “smaller earthquakes” and most mothers have to deal with them frequently):

  • we’re in a rush to get somewhere
  • children are whiny about chores or having a hard time having a good attitude about school work
  • children bickering
  • the constant messes in the kitchen and the house constantly needing to be cleaned (she talks about this!)
  • days that are too busy.  Too much rushing from here to there makes me and the kids a little on edge.

Two very real triggers that make me start feeling irritated:

  • giving the children a bath and realizing that the bathroom smells like pee…again!
  • rocking the baby for bedtime and being interrupted by older kids who have been fighting.

I have made lists of these triggers, and then done almost nothing about them cropping up into my daily life.  I could also work on changing my attitude when these things happen, but that seems so hard!  Sometimes I even tell myself  “It’s silly to get frustrated about these things, so I won’t.” Yeah, that works.

Julie Ann also talks about the warning signs within us that indicate “you’re going to blow”.

One question she asks at the end of the chapter that I’ll ask you (feel free to answer in the comments section!):

What are some of the physical and emotional signals that usually let you know you’re going to blow?  

ch 4: Underground Issues

The rage that flares against our children is usually rooted in something greater than the children themselves…But it is so much easier to lay the blame on our children.  Blaming them requires less effort than actually examining our lives and considering the real sources for our erupting anger.

I wrote about this tendency to blame in a post called My Anger Is My Fault.  Julie Ann uses this chapter to dig into deep issues that might be the root of our anger.  I won’t focus on each issue, but will focus on one section:  “Discontentment and the Shoulds” is listed as a possible underground issue.

Whenever I start thinking that I am not good enough, that someone has it better than I do, that my children don’t measure up, that my life just hadn’t turned out the way I wanted…it won’t be long before the sparks begin to fly…

One writer points out three expectations that almost always lead to anger:

  • The world should treat me better
  • I shouldn’t make mistakes.
  • Other people should behave the way I want them to.

The last two expectations have been huge for me.  I call #2 perfectionism and #3 control.  I tend to get angry when I can’t control my kids.  And I tend to get angry when the things I’m responsible for aren’t going perfectly.  Which is often.  These two attitudes are serious problems and require serious attention.

A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9 {read: I am not in control}

For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:2  {I am not able to bridle my whole body = imperfect}

As Paul tells us in Philippians 3:12-14, we strive toward perfection, but have not yet attained it.  Making mistakes is part of life, motherhood, and childhood.  If I can’t show grace toward myself when I make mistakes, it is even harder to show grace to my children when they are making mistakes.  It is hard to accept their mistakes, and my own.

When I can’t accept their mistakes, I will try to control my children.  Try to control what they do, what they wear, and what they say.  I do this and ignore the fact that God is in control of my children.  He knows what they need.  Yes, I need to direct them and instruct them, but not control them.  (This is something I am constantly working on – the balance between directing and controlling.)

The Bible does not say:

Tell a child the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it

Make a child go in the way he should go…

It says:

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

So, among other “underground issues” in my life, I am constantly working on my tendencies toward perfectionism and control.

What’s an underground issue from this chapter that resonated with you?  Or, if you haven’t been able to read along, what’s one you have struggled with?

*Click on this link if you’re looking for 5 Days of Cleaning the Mind and Body & a cash giveaway!

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Christy can be found at the beach chasing naked toddlers and cheering on her young surfers. She founded One Fun Mom to share her imperfect life and encourage moms to love how God made them. She's delighted to have you join her and her fabulous writing team as you all journey closer to God and learn to love others through His example.

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  1. I think anger and a controlling nature tend to go hand in hand. I know few friends with laid back personalities that struggle with anger. Yet, those of us with more controlling, perfectionists natures tend to struggle with anger. Which is funny because part of control should be self-control. I also find that it is people who have been raised with ridiculously high expectations so now they have ridiculously high expectations of themselves and others. I am just like that and receiving and giving God’s grace to just be and accept me and others as they are , has been the most difficult thing about following Christ in my life. I should write about this…
    Gaby recently posted..Sometimes when you are five…My Profile

    • I think you’re right, Gaby! I often wish I was more laid back… I think what you write is applicable to me and probably many more.

      You should definitely write about this.

  2. There are really no words for how much I love this post. Thank you. I am a very low key person and after I had children I found this latent anger I never expected. Coming from a background that emphasized very heavyhanded, authoritarian child “training,” I finally realized after many years that my anger stemmed from the idea that I had to be in complete control, and if my children disobeyed I was failing to control them. In the circles I once ran, the word “control” was actually used often–“Parents today just don’t know how to control their children.” I felt like a failure because my kids didn’t meet these expectations of perfectly controlled behavior.

    What a double standard! As if I obey God perfectly all the time! Moving toward a more gracious, Gospel-centered parenting approach, and facing my own issues honestly have made all the difference. In a session from Peace Maker Ministries I saw recently, the teacher explained that conflict often arises from cravings in our lives that have become idols. We can desire something good–like obedient children or respect–but when we crave it and think we must use any means to satisfy that craving, or that we can’t be happy unless they obey all the time, it has become an idol. That really resonated with me.

    • Stephanie, my mindset was a lot like yours when I first had children. I had no idea how to “make” them mind me. Or “make” them meet the very high expectations I had of them.

      I am so thankful for the current books available on being a grace-filled parent and a general focus on gaining our children’s hearts. These ideas weren’t very familiar to me in the beginning.

      What an interesting perspective on cravings that have become idols. It makes sense. I’ll look for Peace Maker Ministries. Thanks so much for sharing your heart!


  1. […] a lot of the time (and I think we all might) believing that I am in control.  I think that I will get through my day without getting frustrated at the kids on my own strength.   I think that I will manage my crazy schedule on my own strength.  I think […]

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